Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Jesus gave us the
Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, which we can read in the Gospel
of Matthew. Jesus offers us a way of life that promises eternity in the
Kingdom of Heaven.
The teachings of Christ were simple but unique and innovative at the
time of his life on earth. He began teaching about 30 AD in the time of
the ruthless Roman occupation of Palestine.
Commandments, given to Moses on Mount Sinai in the Old Testament Book of
Exodus, gives us a series of "Thou shalt nots," that we must avoid in
daily life on earth.
contrast, the message of Jesus was one of humility, charity, and
brotherly love. He taught transformation of the inner person. Jesus
presents the Beatitudes in a positive sense, virtues in life which will
ultimately lead to reward. Love becomes the motivation for the
Christian. All of the Beatitudes promise us salvation - not in this
world, but in the next. The Beatitudes initiate one of the main themes
of Matthew's Gospel, that the Kingdom so long awaited in the Old
Testament is not of this world, but of the next, the Kingdom of Heaven.
Saint Augustine called the Beatitudes the ideal for every Christian life!
Following the Beatitudes means making the choice to put God before everything else.
What do the Beatitudes mean for us today?
Here are Jesus' teachings on true happiness as they might be understood by people today.
Depend on God. Don't let material things get in the way of loving God and others.
"Poor in spirit" means to be humble.
Humility is the realization that all your gifts and blessings come
from the grace of God. This means we should be completely empty and open to
the Word of God. When we are an empty cup and devoid of pride, we
are humble. Humility brings an openness and an inner peace, allowing
one to do the will of God.
Share other people's sorrows and joys. Don't set yourself apart from others.
If we are humble and appreciate that
all of our gifts and blessings come from God, we grow in love and
gratitude for Jesus Christ our Savior. But this can only produce
mourning and regret over our
own sins and the sins of this world, for we have hurt the one who
has been so good to us.
Learn to be gentle with people and things. Don't try to get your
way by using violence or by bullying others. A humble person becomes meek,
or becomes gentle and kind, even in the face of adversity and hardship. St.
Augustine advises us to be meek in the face of the Lord, and be obedient to
Work hard to make sure that all people are treated justly. Do what you can to change unjust conditions.
A continuous desire for justice and
moral perfection will lead one to a fulfillment of that desire - a
transition and conversion to holiness. This is true for all the virtues
- if you hunger and thirst for what is right and just, you will head
towards the goal you have in mind.
Forgive others and ask their forgiveness. Let compassion, not anger, rule your life.
Mercy is the loving
disposition towards those who suffer distress.
compassion, and forgiveness towards one's neighbor will bring peace
in your relationships. As we are merciful to others, so our
Heavenly Father will be merciful with us! Jesus reminds us that
whatever "you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me
To be pure of heart means to
be free of all selfish intentions and self-seeking desires. How many
times have any of us performed an act perfectly free of any personal
gain? Such an act is pure love. An act of pure and selfless giving
brings happiness to all. The
pure of heart can enjoy life here on earth, because they are
helping God build his kingdom of heaven.
Peacemakers not only live peaceful
lives but also try to bring peace and friendship to others. The Lord
wants you first to be yourself filled with the blessings of peace
and then to communicate it to those who have need of it. By
imitating God's love of man, the peacemakers become children of God.
Jesus said many times that those who
follow Him will be persecuted. Stephen, Peter and Paul, nearly all
of the Apostles, and many Christians in the Roman era suffered
martyrdom. The twentieth century with its wars and conflicts has
seen its share of martyrs such as Maximilian Kolbe and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The Lord promised those that suffer for his sake
will be rewarded with the Kingdom of Heaven!